Without doubt, procrastination is an art. So if you are like me and find yourself doing it from time to time, then a very warm welcome to you my artistic friend! Thanks for coming over.
The random thing about exercising our procrastination muscle is that it makes us feel terribly frustrated.
Not only frustrated but guilty too. Because we don’t really want to be procrastinating, do we? If we are procrastinating, we aren’t taking action. And that could therefore mean that we are lazy. It’s the perfect example of putting ourselves into a Catch 22 – guilty because we want to make a decision and guilty because we are procrastinating. Let’s have a lie down!
I generally find that if I’m going to have a really good procrastinating session, it is often (but not exclusively) when I’m doing something for myself. It will invariably be where I am making a commitment or an investment into something (how very self-indulgent). It will almost definitely be to do with stepping out of my happy little comfort zone and showing up for something for the greater good or that falls into the ‘taking a risk category’.
In the spirit of moving forward, I have decided to try and make friends with my inner procrastinator. Isn’t that how it works? Keep your enemies close and all that! And I want to share with you what I have found and see if it resonates.
Procrastination Loves a List!
Procrastination loves a list maker. It also loves a busy person. I am both of these things when procrastination is in town. You probably will be too. Procrastination loves a list because it gives us permission not to take action. We can’t take action when we have so much to do, can we? Procrastination will use your list as ammunition against you and hinder your decision making process.
Not only does it love a list but it likes you to add things to that list just as you are gearing yourself up to make your move towards making your decision. It will render any attempts at deviating from the list to be frivolous. Selfish even. Particularly when there is so much on your list.
And while you aren’t working through the list you will start to research your idea as though you are preparing to go to the moon. Whatever it is you are trying to achieve, you will be a slave to google and every tab on the subject will be open on your computer. Think of it as a giant Trip Advisor. You will naturally skim over the positive reviews and use your microscopic eye to start to look for warnings and reasons to exercise caution. And you will find them. Of that much you can be sure.
At this point, you have every opportunity to walk away from your bad idea. You’ve got the evidence that you wanted and made your own alarm bells sound and that’s it – job done. As you were. Back to your list. You’re too busy anyway! That’s the thing with this busy lark isn’t it. It stops us from facing our truth by satisfying our belief that we don’t have time. The list is a distraction.
But still you carry on don’t you? Because you wanted this. And now you are annoyed that you’ve put yourself off. Sound familiar? [Note : you aren’t mad by the way, you are just scared of taking ownership of your decision]
Watch Out – Here Comes Sheila!
As if you aren’t confused enough by now, ‘procrastinate’ will watch you try to clear that list (which you won’t by the way!) and it will invite its best friend Doubt over for a cuppa. Doubt is never sure she can make it (she’s like that), so she’ll send Sheila Should instead.
Sheila knows everything. Sheila knows what everyone should be doing. Take my advice – DO NOT LET HER IN! She is trouble. She won’t just have tea, she’ll be angling for dinner too. She is going to get under your skin.
Let me tell you now. Once Sheila is in. She’ll make herself right at home there on your favourite seat on your comfy sofa. Her bony fingers will be running along your skirting boards quicker than you shout ‘sorry Sheila, I was wrong to think I could do this’.
So if you didn’t heed my earlier advice, then listen up. Do not let her share your sofa. Sheila is not a friend. She will remind you of the time you did this 12 years ago and it didn’t work. You should have learned from that. She will advise against financial investment or any self-indulgence in the current climate because – well you just don’t know what can happen nowadays, do you? And if anyone should know this it’s you. Sheila enjoys discussing what can go wrong. She is an expert in advising you on what you should be doing rather than indulging in fanciful ideas. Sheila finds most things frivolous. She is the thief of self-care.
I strongly recommend at this point that if is she’s still with you, that you should push her off the sofa. It’s only a matter of time before she takes to Google and that is an absolute nightmare for a know it all like Sheila.
And whilst you are at, turn the dinner off.
Tell Sheila you are going out.
You Can Have Your Seat Back Now!
Phew! You must be exhausted. I certainly am!
I make light of this of course but if you’ve ever been on this treadmill, you will know that procrastination is very self limiting. It stops us from moving forward and making the very decision that we need to.
Procrastination also tends to follow a period where we’ve not been operating in line with our usual vibe and energy. That may be because of illness or perhaps something has been chipping away at our spirit or sense of self. It is most definitely worse when we are feeling less empowered than we may usually be. That is why it is generally successful in halting our progress.
It may be that we are trying to move from a bad situation but we don’t want to go from bad to worse. Unfortunately, that’s the optimum condition for procrastination.
Because our A to B is not the same as anyone else’s, is it? A small step to one person is a giant leap into the unknown for someone else. But there’s a slight difference between doing a bit of due diligence and preparing for the end of the world though isn’t there?
Of course we don’t always talk about these things because, well – it’s just us that feels this way – surely? And it’s a bit embarrassing because what’s the big deal? The big deal is that it’s our deal and it’s us making the decision to upgrade our life and let’s face it, we all need a helping hand from time to time. We don’t all have the art of sailing through life unscathed or with a winning mindset every single day and that’s OK. Neither do most people. It just appears that way.
We become so entrenched in our indecision that the easiest thing in the world is to halt the progress and carry on as we were.
Except it doesn’t end there because we cannot reconcile with giving up. That weighs heavily too.
And just when it feels as though we’ve exhausted every bone in our body, the enlightenment happens.
We go for it and we do that thing we’ve been painfully putting off. Because it may haven taken forever but it doesn’t go away, does it?
Everything that has gone before will seem like total madness and we are left wondering why we put ourselves through it.
I can’t answer that unfortunately but what I do know is that once I’ve made THAT decision, it is the best feeling ever.
Clarity and relief wash over me and I have the most wonderful feeling of renewed energy and zest.
That is because I know I’ve done the right thing. In fact it was always the right thing but for whatever reason, I needed to be extra sure this time.
That’s you and me both, I’m guessing.
It just took us a while to get here.